Harvard University

Astronomy Lab and Clay Telescope


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Spectra of Betelgeuse and Rigel

The spectrum of a star can give us a lot of information about the star, including information about its composition and its temperature. In this lab, you will take the spectrum of two different stars and identify their spectral type. Stars are divided into groups (O, B, A, F, G, K, M) from hottest to coolest, from about 40,000K - 2,000K. A popular mnemonic to remember the spectral sequence is "Oh, be a fine girl and kiss me!". These groups are then further subdivided from (0-9) where the B0 would be the hottest stars in the subclass and B9 would be the cooler.